Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yes, There Are Defensible Borders and They Are Required

Yisrael Medad
My Right Word
31 May '11


This perspective seems to be going around and so I'll deal with it.

Israel's security, it is claimed, is in a peace agreement. Borders are secondary.

Here's from a letter published on the issue as an example:

There are no defensible borders

The claim that "the 1967 borders are indefensible" sounds so correct and is so deeply ensconced in media discourse that no one tries to examine this mantra and confront it with reality...It is therefore appropriate to ask: If the 1967 borders are indefensible, which borders can be defended? Can any physical border today defend a country if a strong enemy is determined to attack it?

...Can defensible borders protect Israel from an Iranian threat? If there were people who hoped that the borders of the Greater Land of Israel, fences or walls would stop terrorist attacks, the first and second intifadas proved that no obstacle can stand in the way of determined terrorists - certainly not in the way of suicide bombers. The suicide bombers who blew themselves up in buses and cafes did not cross borders. They came from territory under Israeli control.

...What was applicable to conflicts and wars between countries 60 or 100 years ago is no longer applicable today.

It is not defensible borders but rather agreements and cooperation with the Palestinian state that will bring us security. This will also bring us the support of world public opinion and a return to the family of civilized nations.

Michal Paneth-Peleg
Mevasseret Zion

A. If borders are redrawn that invite future hostility, no peace agreement will hold. So the first obligation is to assure, for example, that the hill country overlooking Israel's belly from Hadera to Gedera is not threatened by missiles and that Ben Gurion Airport is not open to shoulder-held rockets.

B. If the future proposed Palestinian state is not demilitarized, based on past experience in broken promises and violated agreements, better borders are needed, not only "peace".

C. The suicide bombers of the post-2000 period, even though we suffered a few cases previously, developed because territory was surrendered and the geographical advantage fell to the Pals. after the creation of A & B areas which made it more difficult for the IDF and the GSS to work.

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Jerusalem Day: Reflections by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel

The Temple Institute

In the June, 1967 Six Day War, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel was a young soldier in the paratrooper brigade, led by Gen. Motta Gur, which liberated Jerusalem's Old City. He was one of the first soldiers to reach the Temple Mount. The very first night that the Temple Mount returned to Israeli sovereignty, Rabbi Ariel was assigned the duty of guarding over the Dome of the Rock, site of the Holy of Holies in the Holy Temple.

Looking back at that time, he relates to the uniqueness of the moment, both universally for all Jews and for himself personally: the return of the Jewish people to this spot, the one place on earth that G-d has chosen for Himself, to begin the resumption of the Divine service. Indeed, this moment was a harbinger for the birth of the Temple Institute.

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Hornik: Canada Backs Israel’s Survival

P. David Hornik
30 May '11


Reuters reported on Friday that Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper prevented the G8 from calling for Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders in a communiqué. The group of eight leading industrialized countries was meeting in Deauville, France.

All the other seven countries—including the United States—favored calling for the Israeli withdrawal. But “the Canadians,” a European official told Reuters, “were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week.”

Instead, the communiqué said:

Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.

The framework for these negotiations is well known. We urge both parties to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues.

To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011.

The G8, then, appears to be implicitly opposing the Palestinian plans for a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN in September—without explicitly demanding that Israel commit territorial suicide.

Israel’s Haaretz further reported on Sunday that Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu himself had called Harper last week to request that he keep the 1967 borders out of the G8’s statement—and that Netanyahu had done so after his speech to Congress on Tuesday.

Where They Really Need a Freedom Flotilla: Try Syria

Claudia Rosett
30 May '11


As if there weren’t enough trouble in the world, it’s “Freedom Flotilla” season again in the Middle East. Self-declared “freedom activists” are again maneuvering to score big propaganda points by trying to break the Israeli naval blockade meant to stop the flow of weapons into Gaza — the Palestinian enclave ruled by the Iranian-backed terrorist group, Hamas. In Turkey, such activists are marking the first anniversary of the May 31, 2010 confrontation aboard the Turkish flagship of last year’s flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, in which some of the erstwhile peaceniks aboard the vessel turned out to be thugs wielding clubs and knives. They attacked the Israelis trying to enforce the blockade; nine “peace” activists died and seven Israeli commandos were wounded.

Plans are now taking shape for another flotilla to sail for Gaza, sometime in June. A major organizer of last year’s flotilla, the terror-linked Turkish nonprofit known as IHH, is seeking preliminary applications for people who want to join this year’s excursion to bait and besmirch Israel and support Iranian-backed Hamas. The IHH site lists some who have already signed up, including a number of Americans described as planning to sail aboard a U.S.-flagged ship called the Audacity of Hope.

Whatever the lofty intentions under which some of the dupes among this crowd might sail, the effect is to support the terrorist rulers of Gaza — who have recently, once again, ratcheted up their rocket and mortar bombardments of Israel, and, as clients of Iran, may be planning worse. Which is the reason for the Israeli blockade in the first place. Recall that in 2005, hoping for peaceful coexistence, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, forcibly evicting even those Israelis who refused to leave their homes there. The Palestinians of Gaza did not respond with peace. They voted into power Hamas, which is dedicated in its charter to the eradication of Israel. They launched thousands of attacks on Israel. Gaza’s real problem is not the Israeli blockade, or a lack of supplies, but its predatory devotion to the aims of terrorizing and destroying the democratic state of Israel. In the name of humanitarian aid, United Nations agencies and assorted charities have been pouring resources into Gaza for years (much of that provided by American and European taxpayers). Attempts to shred the Israeli blockade do not add up to humanitarian help; they add up to support for terror-loving Hamas.

If anyone involved in the launching of this “Freedom Flotilla II” really wants to do some good in this world, there is another piece of turf along the eastern Mediterranean coast they could aim for. It’s a place where a blockade of sorts has been imposed not by Israel, but by the country’s own government — which is now preventing entry by anyone likely to report back on the atrocities within. It’s a country where Iran has been sending in the thugs of its elite Quds force to help crush an uprising of people calling for an end to decades of dynastic totalitarian rule. It’s a place where international peace activists hoping to galvanize world opinion with a high-profile boat trip might usefully attempt a landing and display of solidarity, if only to let the world witness the response.

That place is Syria. It is, of course, less attractive to these flotilla types for a number of reasons. One is that Syrian security forces are likely to be a lot less considerate than Israeli commandos. Your average peace activist who might try sailing forthrightly to the rescue of Syria’s beleaguered demonstrators is more likely to get shot in the head than briefly detained and then repatriated, which is what Israel did last year with those of the flotilla passengers who actually remained peaceful. And course a “Freedom Flotilla” aiming to draw world attention to Syria might actually end up striking a blow for freedom — as opposed to scoring a propaganda coup for the terrorists of Hamas by grandstanding on the high seas about Gaza. But don’t hold your breath. Freedom is not what these flotillas are about.

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The History Men: Truth versus Falsehood

Daphne Anson
30 May '11


Historical revisionism is becoming a lethal weapon of the Palestinian Authority. You may recall that the map on the PA's London Embassy website shows the whole of Israel as "Palestine". http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/2011/05/paint-it-black-and-green-and-red-that.html

Pro-Palestinian groups in the West enthusiastically aid and abet historical revisionism, and what was conceived as the national liberation movement of the Jewish People is routinely presented as an ugly and unacceptable manifestation of European colonialism.

As with this poster, Israel's ill-wishers even stoop to appropriating travel posters designed for the Yishuv by refugee from Hitlerism Franz Krausz, as if those posters were the work of Arabs and in order to advance the notion that "Palestine" (incorporating all of Eretz Israel) was, and should again be, an autonomous Arab land.

Earlier this year, Bibi Netanyahu gave a trademark impressive speech in Jerusalem to a visiting contingent of European Friends of Israel.

As proves so often the case, he manifested his obviously deep and genuine feel for history.

In the course of his address, he noted:

"Now people say, well, you don't really have an attachment to this land. We are new interlopers. We are neo-crusaders.... [F]rom the place next to the Temple wall, the Western Wall from around the time of the Jewish kings, they found a signet ring, a seal of a Jewish official from 2700 years ago, and it has a name on it in Hebrew. You know what that name is? Netanyahu. Now, that's my last name.

My first name, Benjamin, goes back a thousand years earlier to Benjamin the son of Jacob who with his brothers roamed these very hills. So we have some connection with this land but we recognize that others live in it too. We want to make peace with them but we have this basic millenial connection to this land.

Part of the campaign against Israel is the attempt to distort not only modern history, but also ancient history. There was no Jewish Temple - did you hear that one?

Well, I'd like to know where were those tables that Jesus overturned? Were they in Tibet? There's an attempt to rewrite history - ancient and modern and to deprive the Jewish people of their connection to their ancestral homeland ..."

Mahmoud Abbas is not averse to distorting history - as witness that despicable doctoral dissertation of his, completed in the Soviet Union in 1982 and published in book form a couple of years later as The Other Side of the Secret Relationship Between Zionism and Nazism. Not only does it allege that Zionists, eager for as many victims of genocide as possible in order to advance their aims, were in cahoots with the Nazis, it suggests that the actual number of Jews who perished in the Shoah was perhaps less than one million.

Rubin: Western Media Insanity on the Middle East - The Silver Lining in Gaza!

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
31 May '11


Story 1: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Egypt is losing control of the Sinai Penninsula where there are a lot of terrorists who can go into the Gaza Strip and attack Israel or stage cross-border attacks.

Story 2: Arab newspaper reports an estimated 400 al-Qaida terrorists in the Sinai.

Story 3: Egypt opens border to Gaza Strip so money, terrorists, and weapons can flow in freely.

Bottom line: Western media (in part due to a stupid individual Israeli's personal analysis of situation) says that there's a "silver lining." Egypt, not Israel is now responsible for the Gaza Strip.

Coming in future weeks, no doubt:

Silver lining in Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt;

Silver lining in Islamist election victory in Turkey;

Silver lining in Iran getting nuclear weapons.

Isn't that great?

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Glick: Where Obama is leading Israel

Caroline Glick
31 May '11


In the aftermath of US President Barack Obama's May 19 speech on the Middle East, his supporters argued that the policy toward Israel and the Palestinians that Obama outlined in that speech was not anti-Israel. As they presented it, Obama's assertion that peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must be based on the 1967 lines with agreed swaps does not mark a substantive departure from the positions adopted by his predecessors in the Oval Office.

But this claim is exposed as a lie by previous administration statements. On November 25, 2009, in response to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's acceptance of Obama's demand for a 10-month moratorium on Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the State Department issued the following statement: "Today's announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements."

In his speech, Obama stated: "The United States believes... the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states."

That is, he took "the Palestinian goal" and made it the US's goal. It is hard to imagine a more radically anti-Israel policy shift than that.

Jerusalem Was Always A United Jewish Capital City - Israel Straight Talk

Avi Abelow
Israel Straight Talk
IST #67
30 May '11

Jerusalem was always a united city except when the Jordanians occupied the West Bank of the Jordan river, split the city and forbid Jews from entering and worshipiing at their holy sites. Jerusalem was established as the capital of the Jewish nation by King David and has not been a capital for any other people since.

Watch this video to learn the facts about the united capital of Jerusalem and share with all.

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Guardian Places Knesset on Arab Farmland

Simon Plosker
Honest Reporting/Backspin
30 May '11


Only yesterday I blogged the BBC’s video report on the Arab village of Lifta, located at the western entrance to Jerusalem and abandoned since 1948. Within 48 hours of the BBC’s report, the Guardian has also published its own story and video.

Is this an amazing coincidence or is this an obvious demonstration of the similarity in the agendas of both the BBC and Guardian?

Both media outlets seem determined to bring the focus of the Arab-Israeli conflict back to the events of 1947/8 – a tactic employed by the Palestinians to present Israel as being “born in sin” and responsible for the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians and the creation of the refugee problem.

The fact that one Yacoub Odeh is the former Lifta resident guiding the BBC’s Wyre Davies and the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood separately would suggest that this “tour” was a well-organized effort offered to the international media and eagerly picked up by those outlets sympathetic to the Palestinian narrative from 1948.

But where does Sherwood get her information from? She states:

Out of sight of Lifta’s ruins, but built on its former farmlands are the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the supreme court, the Hadassah hospital, the Hebrew University and the city’s central bus station.

In fact, the Knesset was built on land leased from the Greek Orthodox Church and not Lifta’s farmlands. The Knesset, Supreme Court and Hebrew University are located in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Ram, which prior to the 1948 war, was known as the village of Sheikh Badr and not Lifta’s farmland.

As for Hadassah Hospital, is Sherwood referring to Hadassah Mount Scopus in the north of Jerusalem or Hadassah Ein Kerem in the south west of the city? Either way, both are located a considerable distance from Lifta and could not possibly have been part of its farmland prior to 1948.

According to Sherwood then, it appears that entire swathes of Jerusalem were actually built on Lifta’s farmland.

Looks like Sherwood’s lack of fact checking has been caught out.

But this isn’t surprising as Yacoub Odeh is given carte blanche to push the Naqba narrative and both the Guardian and BBC are prepared to accept this at face value.

So is this a story that pits development against the preservation of historical memory or is it really all about the right of Jews to build in Jerusalem, even in the western part of the city?

Considering that the BBC and Guardian both refer to Arab East Jerusalem and make no secret of their opinion that Jews should not be a part of the landscape there, it’s no surprise that even the western “Jewish” side of Jerusalem is now apparently part of the discussion.

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Bibi breaks Israel's silence on Jewish refugees

Point of No Return
30 May '11


Bibi Netanyahu 's mention of Jewish refugees to President Obama marks a welcome break with past silence, or at best, mealy-mouthed ministerial pronouncements. But he needs to go further still, thinks Michelle Huberman in her Jerusalem Post blog 'Clash of cultures':

Hallelujah. He said it.

Last week, as I watched Bibi sitting in the White House with President Obama, I raised a cheer when he mentioned Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries. At long last the subject has been mentioned in front of prime time TV viewers around the world.

I am amazed at the wide-scale ignorance on Jewish refugees from Arab Lands. When Obama gave his famous speech in Cairo in 2009 he made no reference to the 75,000 Jews that were ethnically cleansed from Egypt in the past 63 years. Today only a handful of elderly Jews remain. Or American-Lebanese journalist Helen Thomas believing Jews come from Germany and Poland. In Lebanon there were 10,000 Jews before 1948 and today Beirut has only 40 left. All in their eighties. Why do so few people know these facts?

Well now, whilst our Mizrachi/Sephardi witnesses to the expulsions across the Middle East and North Africa are still alive, it has to be instilled into our Jewish narrative and remembered as much as the Exodus from Egypt and the Holocaust. It is our duty to broadcast these facts to a blinkered world. We have to repeat over and over again that Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees whilst Arab countries did not absorb their Muslim brethren.

As Netanyahu said: “The Arab attack in 1948 on Israel resulted in two refugee problems – Palestinian refugees and Jewish refugees, roughly the same number, who were expelled from Arab lands. Now, tiny Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees, but the vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees. Now, 63 years later, the Palestinians come to us and they say to Israel, accept the grandchildren, really, and the great grandchildren of these refugees, thereby wiping out Israel's future as a Jewish state.”

It’s not the first time that as Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu mentioned Jewish refugees – he did so in his Bar Ilan speech but this time, the mention of Jewish refugees was explicit and most importantly, Netanyahu said it in front of Obama himself, confronting his ignorance on Jewish refugees from Arab Lands.

But why stop there? Bibi should be pressing Obama and EU leaders to put pressure on the neighboring Arab states to give citizenship to the Palestinian refugees huddled in squalid camps on their borders. Without citizenship they are not permitted to work in their host countries and are dependent on donations. They should have dignity with their Muslim brothers and compensation should be used to create wealth and jobs, rather than just handouts.

And the Jews who lost their wealth in the Arab countries must be remunerated too. In February 2010, the Knesset passed a law to ensure that Israel would sign no peace treaty which did not take account of Jewish refugee rights - notably compensation. Ever since he became Deputy Foreign Minister in the current cabinet, Danny Ayalon, himself the son of an Algerian refugee, has been spearheading a robust campaign to raise public awareness of Jewish refugees.

Netanyahu‘s words also mark a departure from the mealy-mouthed statements of the past. As foreign minister in 2007, Tzipi Livni made a fleeting and confused reference of Jewish refugees at the Annapolis conference by conflating them with Jewish refugees from Europe. She did not stress that those Jews from Arab countries had been resettled by Israel, only that they "longed for Israel." At the time this was at least an improvement on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He did not mention Jewish refugees at all, but empathized with 'Palestinian suffering' mumbling that he was sorry for both Jewish and Palestinian refugees.

Thankfully, we now seem to have made headway since the euphoric days of the Oslo accords, when Minister of Justice Yossi Beilin closed down a department headed by the late Professor Yaakov Meron dealing with Jewish refugees' property rights.

On the 23rd of May, Jimena organized a press briefing on Jewish refugees. Gina Waldman introduced a short 18 min video of the film 'The Forgotten Refugees' after which she described her own personal story of growing up in Libya and in 1967 after the Six Day War being forced to leave the country, barely escaping attempts to kill her and her family on their way to the airport.

Read post in full

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Carter Misrepresents Longstanding U.S. Policy, U.N. Resolution 242

Tamar Sternthal
Middle East Issues
30 May '11

Not for the first time, former President Jimmy Carter misrepresents the contents of U.N. Resolution 242, passed in the wake of the 1967 Six Day War. In an Op-Ed last week in the International Herald Tribune, Carter recycles falsehoods from his book and deceives readers ("The unchanged path to Mideast peace," May 26, 2011):

U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967, concluded the war of that year and has been widely acknowledged by all parties to be the basis for a peace agreement. Its key phrases are, “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” and “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” These included the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, plus lands belonging to Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. . . .

Significantly, Carter does not quote the "key phrase" of the resolution calling for the withdrawal of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, because the resolution does not even mention them. Those were the President's own additions. Given that the drafters of U.N. Resolution 242 did not intend for Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 boundaries, the resolution very deliberately refers to withdrawal from "territories," and not "the territories." Indeed, the fact that U.N. Resolution 242 does not call for withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem was made clear in a series of correction published in 2000 by the New York Times, which owns and publishes the International Herald Tribune. The three corrections follow:

(Read full "Carter Misrepresents Longstanding U.S. Policy, U.N. Resolution 242")

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Ya'alon: Conflict isn’t territorial

Moshe (Bogi) Ya'alon
Israel Opinion/Ynet
30 May '11


Op-ed: Deputy PM Ya'alon says Israel must be recognized as Jewish state for peace to prevail

The key sentence in the prime minister's speech before Congress made it clear that the main reason for the failure of all attempts to secure Israel-Palestinian peace is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State; that is, to recognize the Jewish people's right to maintain a Jewish nation-state, the State of Israel, on the land of its forefathers.

Israel's Palestinian dialogue partner in peace talks is the PLO; all members of this umbrella organization, including Fatah, reject Israel's right to exist, while accepting it (because of the IDF's military power) on the condition that it would be an entity that lacks an ethnic identity – that is, that it will not be the Jewish people's nation-state.

The Palestinians always stress that they are in favor of the "two-state" solution, rather than a solution based on "two states for two peoples." According to Palestinian leader Abbas, the Jews are not entitled to a state. He rejects a connection between the Jews, as a religion, and the Land of Israel, even though he admits to a Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael in the distant past, as the Koran often refers to it. Indeed, Abbas defines Jewishness as a religion, rather than a nationality.

Ever since the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have resorted to a series of verbal maneuvers in order to reject Israel's identity as the Jewish people's nation-state, and they have never renounced the return of refugees. This approach is not only espoused by some sly statesmen. It is the main message conveyed to the Palestinian public in general and Palestinian youth in particular, via the media, textbooks, constitutive documents of political organizations, religious authorities and cultural work.

Palestinian maps make no mention of Israel, and the PMW website, which monitors the Palestinian media, shows us the Palestinian leadership, headed by Abbas, beaming while a talented singer promises that Haifa and other areas within Israel will again be part of Palestine. Moreover, Palestinian children are being educated from young age to hate Israel and adore suicide bombers. This is not the way to make true peace. This is not how one prepares for coexistence.

Rockets in response to concessions

Promoting an atmosphere that encourages violence and terror, combined with incitement for hatred of Israel and the Jews, is the reason for the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians rather than the steps adopted by Israel to defend itself in the face of this incitement. An Israeli concession on this matter will prompt the establishment of a hostile (and apparently failed) state near our population centers.

The heart of the conflict with the Palestinians is existential and not just territorial, as proven by Nakba Day events and as the prime minister made clear in his speech. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the occupation started in 1948 and not in 1967. Hence, Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish people's nation-state is a required condition for viable peace with the Palestinians, although it is not a condition for entering negotiations.

Imparting this realization to the Palestinian public is a condition for implementing a peace deal and will require significant time. We should not delude ourselves and cultivate false hopes.

Past experience taught us that for any territory we gave up in order to move closer to the peace we seek, we got terror and rockets rather than peace. I'm glad to see that more and more Israelis are aware of this danger, and the more united Israel is on this front vis-à-vis the Palestinians and the international system, the higher our chances will be of prompting the Palestinians and the world to address the issue, and as result to secure stable, agreed-upon peace that will meet the national demands of both peoples.

The writer is Israel's deputy prime minister and minister for strategic affairs

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Monday, May 30, 2011

From Israel: UN Panic

Arlene Kushner
Arlene from Israel
30 May '11

There is considerable anxiety these days with regard to the threats of the Palestinian Authority (and now the Arab League) to ask the UN, in September, to officially declare "Palestine" to be a state.

Accompanying -- or fueling -- this anxiety is a great deal of misinformation. And so -- having consulted with legal experts here in Israel and done other research -- I will make my best effort to clarify a muddled situation.


What is referred to as "international law" is not nearly as clear or definitive as many people imagine it to be.

There are certain written documents of international law. The Geneva Conventions (four treaties and three protocols pertaining to human rights during war) would be a prime example. But technically these apply only to those nations that have ratified the conventions -- that is, that have agreed to abide by their stipulations. Similarly, there is the charter of the UN, the principles of which have theoretically been accepted by all member states.

There is also "customary international law": When a practice is so common that there is a broad international consensus that it is obligatory, it becomes a rule of customary law considered binding upon all nations.

Sometimes, even though a treaty (such as a Geneva Convention) is binding only on signatories, the principles stated within that treaty have been so widely accepted internationally that they can be said to be "customary international law."


This is what we have, broadly, from the perspective of international law with regard to the establishment of a Palestinian state:

The United Nations does not "recognize" or "declare" states into existence. All the UN can do is accept for membership states that are already in existence. (I'll come to this below.)

A state applies to the Secretary-General. The Security Council must then make a recommendation on membership and send that recommendation to the General Assembly.

But we can assume that the application by a Palestinian state would be vetoed in the Security Council by the US. This is close to a sure thing, because this is the principle on which Obama has advanced his policy and his public position: the state of Palestine must be established via negotiations. What is more, Obama is likely to be influenced by Congressional pressure and electoral considerations.

There is considerable talk among the Arabs now about going to the General Assembly for a declaration of statehood, to avoid that Security Council veto, but quite frankly, I don't know what they're thinking. In any event, a declaration of statehood for the Palestinians by the General Assembly would be only a recommendation without weight in international law. This is important to keep in mind.

BBC Fights For an Arab West Jerusalem

Simon Plosker
Honest Reporting/Backspin
29 May '11


The BBC is so fond of referring to “Arab East Jerusalem” to make the point that this part of the city should be a homogenous demographic that doesn’t include Jews. But what happens when the BBC visits the western part of Jerusalem?

In this video, the BBC reports from Lifta, an Arab village abandoned in 1948. Many Jerusalem residents will be familiar with the area in question as it is located at the western entrance to the city and is visible from some of the main highways in the area. The BBC report refers to Lifta’s “exquisite mosque”, a subtle ploy to imply some deep spiritual and living breathing connection to the village as well as to presumably induce negative feelings towards anyone who might interfere with a house of worship.

However, any observer can see that all that is left of this village are tumbling down stone structures that have been left untouched for decades and what may have been a mosque is nothing more than an empty edifice. Lifta is also known as an area whose crumbling structures are used by criminals and drug users seeking somewhere quiet and off the beaten track to engage in unsavory pursuits.

It also happens to be within a few minutes walk from Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, International Convention Center and many Jewish neighborhoods and is clearly within the 1949 Armistice Lines and part of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty before the reunification of the city in 1967.

Does the BBC reporter not see the gross hypocrisy of promoting the opinions of a former Lifta resident who complains that he is unable to live in his former home while complaining that Jews from around the world could live there instead? After all, the BBC is so quick to parrot the line that the eastern part of Jerusalem belongs to the Arabs.

So if the BBC recognizes “Arab East Jerusalem”, why does it not recognize a “Jewish West Jerusalem”? The BBC isn’t prepared to recognize a united, undivided city but it still tries to have its cake and eat it.

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Palestinians Tear Up Another Agreement, the World Yawns

Evelyn Gordon
30 May '11


This weekend, Egypt reopened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza after four years of almost total closure. Amid much talk about the move’s meaning for Gaza’s quality of life, for Israel’s security, and for the character of Egypt’s new government, perhaps its most significant element has been overlooked. A binding international agreement, brokered by the U.S. and signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, has just effectively been torn up.

The 2005 agreement laid down detailed provisions for how Gaza’s border crossings would be run following Israel’s withdrawal from the territory earlier that year. From a security standpoint, Israel won’t mourn its demise, as the European monitors stationed at Rafah quickly proved useless at preventing the passage of terrorists and contraband.

But at a time when the world is demanding that Israel make far more dangerous territorial concessions in the West Bank in exchange for yet another piece of paper containing “robust” security provisions (to quote President Barack Obama), it’s worth noting just how flimsy such pieces of paper are. In a mere six years, Hamas has replaced the PA as Gaza’s landlord and declined to honor the latter’s promises, while Egypt’s new government has scrapped former President Hosni Mubarak’s policy of upholding the agreement even though he wasn’t a formal signatory. And presto! there goes the agreement.

Nor is this the only international agreement Israel has recently seen torn up. The 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, as 60 prominent jurists recently noted in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, states explicitly that “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.” The PA has publicly announced its intention to violate that one by asking the UN General Assembly to recognize those territories as a Palestinian state in September.

And then there’s UN Security Council Resolution 242, which explicitly required an Israeli withdrawal only from “territories” captured in 1967, not “the territories” or “all the territories.” As Lord Caradon, the British UN ambassador who drafted it, explained, “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial.” America’s UN ambassador at the time, Arthur Goldberg, similarly said the two omitted words “were not accidental . . . the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal.” Yet the entire world has now adopted the 1967 lines as the basis for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

That same world has offered no protest at the Rafah agreement’s demise. The European Union, for instance, ”welcomed” the crossing’s agreement-breaking reopening. And most of the world also plans to back the PA’s agreement-breaking quest for statehood in September.

Which leaves only one question. When the world is so patently unwilling to insist that previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements be honored, why does it still think Israel should entrust its security to yet another one?

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